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Date 17.07.11 Hit 394
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UnYong KIM's Memoir 74(Graphys)


74  Samaranch :

Making the Olympics into the Greatest Festival

of the Mankind in Peace Time 2





The highlight of Samaranch’s work is at the Seoul Olympics. It was the first Olympics of his own. The 1988 Seoul Olympics was an event that will last for a long time in the history of the IOC, and Samaranch is a historic figure that well last for a long time in the memories of the Korean people. I can still remember clearly the moment that Samaranch announced “Seoul Korea!” in 1981, at the Baden Baden.

Many Koreans still remember the moment as well. At the time neither Samaranch, nor the Korean people knew that the Seoul Olympics would become such a great success that will last forever in the history of the Olympics. The Seoul Olympics was the first to become a boycott free Olympic two years of boycott by the West and the East.
Seoul Olympics was not only a great adventure for Korea, but it was also for the IOC. Korea was divided country with strongly opposite eastern and western ideals. Questions were raised all over the world regarding Korea’s capability of hosting the Olympics as an underdeveloped country. Furthermore, the participation of soviet Union and communist countries could not be guaranteed.

However, with the effort of the Koreans, Samaranch, and the entire IOC leadership, the Seoul Olympics became the greatest success in the history of modern Olympics. South Korea ranked fourth in the world for the first time since participating in the Olympics with 12 gold medals. At the closing ceremony, Samaranch said, “It was the greatest Olympics in history.” Thinking of his last words at the Seoul Olympics, I am still touched by the glory of the moment. It became an opportunity for Korea to advance into the world, and also stand at a strong position in the world of sport.

Samaranch had experienced constitutional monarchy from his homeland Spain, and was very interested in the political affairs of Korea. He had a special love for Korea.

A year prior to the Olympics in 1987, the following happened on the day of the Elections of the Korean President. Samaranch called me every 30 minutes at the IOC Headquarters. He wanted to know the status of the elections. When he first called it was in my lunch time, so it was difficult for me to talk, but even through the late hours of the night, Samaranch continued to call every 30 minutes. I would wake up at the sound of the telephone, turn on the TV, and talk to Samaranch about the elections. Seeing this, my wife said, “Doesn’t Samaranch know what time to is here?”

After the elections were over, Samaranch called me again: “Dr. Kim, I am very sorry. But I was worried about the Olympics, and thought that the elections would affect the political stability of Korea.”

He supported the success of the Seoul Olympics on the outside and inside. He visited communist countries to ask for their participation in the Games and bring the harmony of East and West to Seoul.

88서울올림픽 태권도경기때 사마란치위원장과 함께.jpg
     With Samaranch IOC President at the Taekwondo Game in 1988

After the success of the Seoul, Samaranch said the following words to me:
“Korea is a country with limitless potential to see big success in the future. The character and power of Koreans will surprise the whole world in the near future.”

Every time Samaranch visited Korea, I spent most of my time with him and I learned many things from him. The only private time that he would have left after attending to all the official agenda would probably be after dinner on the last day.

He did not drink or smoke. The only drinking he did was probably a glass or two of wine while he had dinner. No matter what happens, he would finish work at 9, and be in bed by 10. He always exercised for an hour in the morning. On Sundays, no matter where he was, he attended mass. This was his habit of several decades. Like this, he was a man of self-restraint. And his wife, Bibis was a very lucid and virtuous first lady.

In 1982, Park Chong-kyu (President of the Korea Shooting Association at the time), invited Samaranch to a Korean traditional dinner. Feeling out of place, he stayed for 30 minutes, so that he would not insult the host, and left. For urgent matters to attend. He was a man with no flaws, little or big. However, after I became a scapegoat of a political offensive in 2003 when I was misunderstood that I interfered with the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, he never come to Korea even though he was invited officially.

Of the leaders in the world, there are hardly any that have visited Korea as much as Samaranch. He has visited Korea over 30 times. Whenever he met presidents of other countries and other global leaders, he spoke very highly of Korea. He also studied Korean culture, and said that he respected it.

While Korea and Japan was competing with each other to host the FIFA World Cup, Samaranch helped as if it were his own country competing. After meeting with President Kim Young-sam, and accepting the request to support Korea, Samaranch said this:
“FIFA President Havelange is very close to Japan, so it would be difficult for Korea to become the single host of the World Cup. The situations are more favorable to Japan as well. However, Europe and Africa, some are very interested in co-hosting the World Cup. Havelange  is coming to the IOC with the Brazilian president on the issue of hosting the Brazil Olympics. He is stubborn. I will try to convince Havelange, if you want.”
President Kim Young-sam also said, “Whether it’s a co-host or single host it doesn’t matter. Just help us host the event.”

Even until the day before the elections, predicting the results was impossible, and there were many rumors floating around. Reporters from all over the world stood in front of the FIFA HQ, waiting for the results to be announced. Havelange visited IOC Samaranch immediately called me over the telephone. At the time I was hosting a dinner at Shilla Hotel for the Miss Korea pageants. “Havelange has accepted the co-host offer. The official announcement will be made tomorrow, so please give an unofficial notice to the President of Korea.”

I immediately reported the news to President Kim Young-sam. I also told Kim Young-soo, the Minister of Culture and Sports. The Korean Delegations were busy preparing for briefing in Zurich, where FIFA headquarters is located.

However, Havelange persuaded Japan during the night, officially announced the Korea-Japan joint  FIFA World Cup holding the next day.

Samaranch said the future of organization is depending on who leads it. The IOC led by Killanin, Rogge and Bach and IOC led by Samaranch seem to be different in every way.

          ▲ 88서울올림픽 태권도 시범경기 때 사마란치위원장과 함께

서울 올림픽이 성공한 뒤에 그는 나에게 이렇게 말하였다.
“한국은 무한한 가능성을 가지고 있는 국가입니다. 지금부터 크게 성공할 수 있는 무한한 잠재력을 갖고 있습니다. 한국인은 그 품성과 저력으로 가까운 장래에 세계를 놀라게 할 수 있을 겁니다.”

그가 서울에 올 때마다 나는 대부분의 시간을 그와 함께 행동하며 많이 배웠다. 공식 스케줄 이와에 그의 사적인 시간은 주로 나와 같이 했다.

그는 술, 담배는 전혀 하지 않는 사람이다. 식사할 때에는 와인 한두 잔 정도가 전부였다. 그리고 어떠한 일이 있어도 저녁 9시에는 일을 마치고 10시에는 꼭 침실에 들었다. 아침은 필히 1시간 이상 운동을 하였다. 일요일에는 세계 어디를 가도 미사에 필히 참석했다. 이것은 수십 년간 몸에 배인 습관이었다. 이와 같이 그는 절제를 아는 사람이었다. 또한 그의 부인 비비스(Bibis)는 정말 교양있고 덕 있는 최고의 여성(First lady)이었다.

1982년 박종규(당시 대한사격협회장) 씨가 사마란치를 요정으로 초청한 적이 있었다. 사마란치는 향응이 제공될 것 같은 분위기를 느끼고 초청자 측의 얼굴을 생각해 약 30분 정도 동석을 한 후에 “일이 있어서 가봐야만 한다”고 하면서 자리를 떴던 적이 있었을 정도로 빈틈이 없던 사람이다. 그러나 2003년 내가 평창동계올림픽 방해 운운하는 정치 공세로 희생양이 된 후에는 초청 받아도 오지 않았다.

세계의 지도자들 중에서 사마란치만큼 한국을 많이 찾은 사람은 별로 없다. 그는 한국을 30회 이상 방문하였다. 언제 어디서나 국가 원수나 톱클래스의 사람들만 만나면 한국에 대해서 자랑스럽게 이야기를 했다. 또 한국 문화에 대해서도 공부했고 존중하는 사람이라고 했다.

한국과 일본이 월드컵을 유치 운동을 전개하는 과정에서도 사마란치 위원장은 마치 자국의 일처럼 우리를 도와주었다. 청와대에서 열린 김영삼 대통령과의 오찬에서 대통령으로부터 직접 유치 지원 요청을 받고서 다음과 같이 말했다.

“FIFA 회장인 아벨란제(Havelange)는 일본과 가까운 사람으로 한국의 단독 개최는 상당히 어렵습니다. 분위기도 일본 쪽으로 기울고 있습니다. 그러나 아벨란제를 반대하는 유럽과 남미, 아프리카 지역은 FIFA 집행위원 한일 공동개최에 관심을 갖고 있습니다. 마침 아벨란제가 브라질 올림픽 개최문제로 IOC에 브라질 대통령과 함께 오게 되어 있습니다. 그는 완고한 사람이지만 내가 아벨란제를 설득해 보겠습니다.”

김영삼 대통령도 “공동 개최라도 관계없으니 한국이 월드컵 개최지가 될 수 있도록 협력해 주십시오.”라고 사마란치에게 호소했다.

투표 전날까지 누구도 예측이 불가능한 상황이 되어서 무수한 정보들이 혼재되고 있었다. FIFA 본부 앞에서는 수많은 각국의 기자들이 다음날의 투표 결과를 기다리고 있었다.

사마란치는 아벨란제와 단독 회견을 한 직후 나에게 긴급히 전화 연락을 했다. 그때 나는 한국일보가 주최하는 미스코리아 운영위원장으로 미스코리아 심사위원과 한국일보 간부들에게 신라호텔에서 만찬을 베풀고 있었다. “아벨란제가 공동 개최를 승낙했습니다. 내일 정식으로 한․일 공동개최가 발표될 것이니 대통령에게 비공식적으로 전달해 주길 바랍니다.”

나는 바로 김영삼 대통령에게 보고를 했다. 김영수 문화체육부 장관에게도 알려주었다. 한국 유치단은 FIFA 본부가 있는 취리히에서 브리핑과 표 대결 준비에 바빴다. 그러나 밤 사이 일본을 설득한 아벨란제는 다음날 한․일 공동 개최가 공식적으로 발표했다.
사마란치 위원장은 어느 조직이건 조직의 장이 누구냐에 따라 다르다고 했다. 그 말대로 킬라닌(Killanin), 로게(Rogge), 바하(Bach)가 이끈 IOC와 사마란치가 이끈 IOC는 모든 면에서 다른 것 같다.


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